The Premier League club released results of a survey, which claim it has an estimated 659 million fans worldwide. That is roughly one-tenth of the world’s population, according to Sky Sports.
The study, which was conducted from June-August 2011 by market research firm Kantar, polled 54,000 people across 39 countries. It found that the Red Devils were the most-followed team in the world.
The club also doubled its global fan base over the last five years, according to United’s commercial director Richard Arnold.
“Our family of followers has doubled in five years and across the world this represents a very, very important asset and relationship for the club,” Arnold said.
Arnold also revealed that 88 percent of United fans came from the emerging markets of the Far East, “including 108 million fans in China, 55 million in Indonesia, 35 million in India and 26 million in Vietnam,” the report says.
The study says United’s nearest rival in terms of global reach is FC Barcelona. Unlike in the 2011 UEFA Champions League, United leads the decorated Spanish club by two fans to one in the Asian markets listed above.